Four year wait for full Polish shale verdict-minister

06 December 2013 - 13:24 By Reuters

Poland may need to wait for four years for new wells to provide a final verdict on the large scale profitability of its shale gas, its new environment minister said on Friday.

Maciej Grabowski, who formally replaced Marcin Korolec as environment minister a week ago, said last month that shale gas exploration was his main priority.

"We know that shale gas is there, but we do not know at the moment whether its exploitation is profitable. There are not enough wells, there has to be at least five times more," Grabowski said on Polish radio.

"If we get this number of wells in four years then we would be able to estimate whether we can achieve a production on an industrial scale," he added.

Poland, which wants to cut its dependence on Russian gas, had high expectations of its shale reserves but those hopes have faded as a result of poor drilling results, red tape and an uncertain legal environment.

Grabowski's comments are more cautious than his deputy minister Piotr Wozniak, who said earlier this year that shale gas exploitation on a commercial scale will start in 2014.